SURREY, B.C. — For Delvin Breaux, strapping on the pads for his first game as a B.C. Lion is no big deal.
The 32-year-old American cornerback was B.C.'s biggest acquisition in free agency, but an elbow injury kept him out of the team's first game of the season earlier this month.
A bye in Week 2 helped Breaux get back to full health, and now he's looking forward to making his debut in black and orange when the Lions host the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.
“It’s like riding a bike for me, just getting the reps in in practice is all I need," he said. "Game time, I have experience there. So I’m just going to treat it like a normal football game, prepare the same. I can’t wait.”
B.C.'s defensive group has already grown tight knit, Breaux said, a relationship that pays off in how they communicate and interact on the field.
The Louisiana State University product said it's one of the best defensive groups he's ever been a part of.
"These guys, they just want to win," Breaux said. "That’s the biggest thing. They want to win."
A strong defensive performance will be key if the Lions are going to collect a win over the Argos on Saturday.
Toronto is a team Breaux got used to facing during his four seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“They have great guys. They put their guys in the right places, like Speedy B (Brandon Banks). They put him in certain places to get him the ball," he said.
"So we have to focus on keys and understanding where they like their money guys at, just understanding the down and distance and what they like to do. And we’ll be prepared.”
B.C. (1-0) came prepared for its first game of the 2022 campaign.
Newly minted starting quarterback Nathan Rourke tossed for 282 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more as the Lions torched the visiting Edmonton Elks 59-15.
The Lions can't assume they'll cruise to another victory this week, Rourke said.
“We definitely have to put (Week 1) in our rear-view mirror and realize that that performance can be replicated, but it doesn’t have anything to do with this week," he said. "We really have to move on and show up in a big way this week against the Argos. New team, different team.”
The Argos (1-0) come to Vancouver having edged the Montreal Alouettes 20-19 in Week 2 action.
While a win is a win, the Argos know they'll need to field a tighter performance in order to get a result on Saturday, said head coach Ryan Dinwiddie.
“Our guys are sharp," he said. "They understand we weren’t our best last week. We showed flashes but we were nowhere near where we need to be.”
Toronto knows, too, that B.C. was able to hold back some weapons against Edmonton. The Argos have been readying themselves for what the Lions could still have in store, said quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
“Obviously they didn’t bring their whole package (in Week 1) because they didn’t have to," he said. "So we know that they have more in their tool belt. We’ve been preparing for the extra stuff, for sure.”
TORONTO ARGONAUTS (1-0) at B.C. LIONS (1-0)
Saturday, B.C. Place
HOT STARTS: Both sides are looking to start their season 2-0. It's a feat Toronto hasn't accomplished since 2015 and has only managed twice since 1997. The last time B.C. started the season with a pair of wins was 2016.
LAST TIME OUT: The Argos took a 21-29 overtime win in their lone meeting with the Lions last season.
CENTURY MARK: Saturday will mark the 100th regular-season meeting between the two clubs. B.C. holds the all-time edge in the series with 59 wins, 38 losses and two ties.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2022.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press